Today is the two year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. It has been easy to live here and not think too much about how this is the same place where a quarter of a million people died within a few days from the effects of it. Yes, there is rubble scattered around and some buildings leaning. But since the poverty is so great here – and has been great since long before the earthquake – it just of all kind of blends together.
Today everything is closed – the outdoor market, grocery stores, schools, almost everything. Many people will be attending church to reflect and pray for those who were lost in the earthquake. It is so hard to imagine that we are living in the exact same spot where, out of nowhere, the ground started shaking, walls fell over and roofs caved in, people everywhere were lying on the street injured or dead. Our front yard at the guest house was filled with people sleeping at night and taking refuge. The guesthouse was filled with doctors and medical people who were up around the clock doing amputations, surgeries, IV’s, and anything that came their way.
We have heard stories from many Haitians. Our Creole teacher talks about how she was in her house when it started and she fell over repeatedly in efforts to make her way outside. She ended up crawling on the ground because there was no way to remain standing. Thankfully her whole family was okay, but they didn’t leave their yard for 15 days after the earthquake. We’ve been told that big dump trucks came to pick up the bodies because there were so many of them lying everywhere. They were starting to spread disease and dogs were eating them. So many bodies were just lit on fire as well. You always see people with large scars on their arms/head/hands, and also people walking around with amputations. These are most likely due to the earthquake.
Today is a strong reminder of how nobody is promised the next minute to be alive, and how life can change in a heartbeat. We have come to appreciate how, whenever Haitians are parting ways and say goodbye for the day, they always add, “Si Dye vle,” which literally translates, “If God wants.” They always say that. They know that it is God who wills them their next moment, and it only makes sense to say, “See you tomorrow – if God wants that to happen.” It’s not their choice.
The Bible says in James 4:13 – 15, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Though the earthquake was a horrible tragedy, we can use it to remind us to live in the moment, asking God what His will is for us each day, each minute. Please pray today for those who have lost friends and loved ones in the earthquake and are still feeling the effects of it today.